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How To Reduce Your Website’s Bounce Rate

As a marketing consultant in Surrey, a key marketing question I am often asked is:

 

‘How can I reduce my website’s bounce rate?’

 

Just as a reminder – the bounce rate is where visitors come to your site and then leave (bounce off) immediately.

 

What you want, of course, is for them to stick around on the site, interact with it and then take action.

Facebook on Laptop

Your Most Wanted Response

 

You must know what action you want visitors to take and then ensure that everything on the page directs them towards that action.

 

This could be to buy a product, contact you, download a free report etc.

 

This means that you must avoid bombarding them with too much information otherwise they’ll end up confused, not knowing what action to take.

 

Your Copy

 

What you say and the words you use are fundamental in the conversion process and there are three basic rules for your copy.

  1. Speak Their Language

Your copy should be conversational and relaxed. Write as if you were having a conversation, avoiding corporate-speak and jargon.

  1. Keep it Simple

Use short, simple words. Help is better than facilitate, use is better than utilise.

Keep sentences short, avoiding any unnecessary padding words.

Use contractions – we’re instead or we are, you’ll not you will.

  1. Keep it Relevant

Focus on your visitors’ problems and your solutions.

Talk about your visitors and not about you. As a rule of thumb, you should use “you” twice as often as you use “we”.

Writing Pen with Letters

Imagery

 

The right images are hugely important. They draw visitors into the text and engage at a subconscious level.

 

  1. Avoid Stock Images

There are certain sorts of stock images that we’ve all seen a thousand times – the shaking hands, the shiny, young people crowded around a laptop. These sort of images make your site look generic and “me too”.

  1. Use Images of People

People are drawn to people – a shot of someone using a product is more engaging than a stock product shot. The trick is to use people visitors can identify with.

  1. Consider Loading Times

If an image loads too slowly the chances are visitors won’t wait.

 

Split Testing

 

Increasing the effectiveness and conversion rate of your home page is an ongoing task.

 

Your objective is to discover the ultimate version and the only way you can do this is by split testing.

 

The key thing is only to test one element at a time – this way you know precisely what element has effected the change in response.

 

Every time an improvement is achieved, that page becomes your control.

 

The elements to test should include:

  • Headline
  • Colour scheme
  • Images
  • Calls to action
  • Special offers
  • Copy changes

 

There are many A/B Testing tools available online that manage this process for you. Most tools charge, but there’s also Google Analytics Experiments – an excellent tool, that’s free to use.

Website view

Free Bounce Review

 

If you’re concerned that too many of your visitors aren’t engaging with your website and are bouncing off, I’ve got a special offer for you.

 

I’ll do a free review of the factors influencing your bounce rate (normal cost £299) and give you a report of the actions you need to take to make your website more “sticky” and to drive more response and engagement from your visitors.

 

To apply for your free review, just email me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk, or call me on 01483 200387.

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The Pages Must You Have On Your Website

Your website is the absolute foundation stone of your marketing efforts. Prospects will always check you out online before they do business with you, even if that’s just to endorse their existing impressions.

Read more

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The Elements You Need For a Successful Home Page

Question: If Usain Bolt can run the 100 metres in just over 9.5 seconds, what’s faster than that?

 

And the answer is a visitor deciding to leave your website.

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that you’ve got 8 seconds to persuade a website visitor that they’re in the right place before they hit the back button and leave your site forever.

Read more

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Classic Website Mistakes Many Small Businesses Are Making

The web has been around for over 20 years now but amazingly there are several classic mistakes many small businesses are still making with their websites.

When you consider that the web is the default resource we all use when looking for just about any piece of information, you realise just how just how vital it is to get it right.

Let’s go through some of the most common and most damaging mistakes small businesses are commonly making. Get these right and at least you’re giving your website a fighting chance of being successful.

Website content

No Clear Objective

Too many businesses put up a website without too much thought of what they expect from it.  The point is that you must be absolutely clear what your objectives for the website are.

  • Are you looking to make sales off the page?
  • Do you want visitors to contact you?
  • Are you looking to collect email addresses?
  • Or are you happy for your site to be a brochure site which reinforces your other sales activity?

Whatever it is you want your website to achieve, you must be clear in advance so that you write and design it with that role in mind.

Unclear Action

The purpose of your website is to make visitors take some kind of action.

You need to be very clear exactly what action you want visitors to take and tell them very precisely what to do.

So whether that is to phone you, to email you, to make a purchase or to leave their contact details, make sure you give them that instruction and that instruction only.

Contact us

Not Having Contact Details on Every Page

If a visitor can’t find your contact details immediately they may not be bothered to search for them so you should make it as easy as possible for people to contact you.

This means having contact details, including your email address on every page of your site.

Now while they may want to speak to you, they may not be ready for a conversation. Email doesn’t seem such a big step as picking up the phone.

So make sure you’re making it as easy and comfortable as possible for visitors to contact you by putting your contact details on every page.

Not Built For Mobile Devices

Since Google’s update in April 2015 being mobile friendly and mobile responsive are both absolutely vital.

Significantly over 50% of all searches are carried out on mobile devices and if your site isn’t mobile friendly, Google will penalise your site very severely which means that the chance of being found are about zero.

Responsive Web Design

All new websites built today are mobile friendly and responsive but if your site is old and hasn’t been updated then it may not be, which will severely limit the effectiveness of the site.

The solution is to get your web designer to update the site.

If your site is that old, I would suggest that it’s time you updated the content as well. Your business is bound to have changed over the last 3 or 4 years and your site will probably look tired and dated.

Lack of Social Proof

Social proof in the form of testimonials and case histories is vital for establishing your credentials.

A quality testimonial, stating how the customer has benefited from your services, along with a convincing name, company name(if appropriate) and a photograph will give visitors confidence in the quality of your products and services.

While you’ll probably have a dedicated page for testimonials, having a couple on your home page is important as many visitors may not get past the home page.

Lack of Keywords

You can have the best website in the world but if no one can find it, it’s unlikely it will deliver your objectives.

You must ensure that your primary keywords are built appropriately into your copy. Your text must be written for the reader or Google will penalise you if you repeat keywords too often or your text is obviously written for the search engines.

Web Search

But the fact is that if the search engines can’t relate your text to the search terms people are using, you won’t show up in the search results.

Of course these points only cover the very basics.

So how does your website measure up?

Free Website Review

If your website isn’t delivering the number of enquiries you would like, it may need reviewing.

Give me your website URL and I’ll undertake a review of it and give you a full report of my findings.

For your free review give me a call on 01483 200387 or email me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk

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How To Increase Your Website Conversions

No one is going to do business with you until they have checked you out online so it is vital that you maximise your website conversions.

Websites have to work really hard.

Looking pretty is no good to anyone. Website conversion is all about turning browsers into responders and ultimately customers.

So what are the key issues that you’ve got to get right?

Don’t waste your most valuable space

We’ve probably all heard the stat that you’ve only got 8 seconds to grab your visitors’ attention before they go elsewhere. Allied to that is the fact that 50% of visitors never actually scroll down the page.

This just emphasises the mistake I see all the time where people fill the top section of their home page with a scrolling selection of pretty pictures, which are somehow related to the business.

This is a waste of the most valuable real estate on the site.

This is the area where you should be hitting your visitors with a headline that communicates the biggest benefit you deliver or the greatest problem your visitors suffer from plus where you should be using a lead magnet to get your visitors’ contact details.

Have a look at my website and you’ll see what I mean www.bda.me.uk

The importance of video

Video is an absolute must these days on your website.

Google has always loved video and rewards you in its rankings.

But video can do some much more.

Video gives you the chance to introduce your personality into your website so in effect visitors are no longer interacting just with a website but also with you, the video presenter.

In a business such as mine communicating my personality and expertise are key objectives for me. Additionally you can use your video to tell people exactly what you want them to do and give them an immediate call to action.

The other thing is don’t hide your video away. Put it in prime position on the home page so encouraging people to play it and interact with you and the site.

If you’re not keen on actually featuring in the video you can always get someone else to be the spokesman for the business or you can do a Powerpoint presentation with a voice over.

Authority

If visitors are going to take action, they are going to need to be convinced by your site. To do this your site needs to be authoritative.

Authority can be created by showing your qualifications, any awards you’ve won, by including glowing customer testimonials and case histories which demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution.

Only when I have confidence in you will I take action and get in touch.

Mobile

Mobile has now officially overtaken desk tops for searching the web. As a result earlier this year Google amended their search algorithms and now heavily penalises sites which aren’t both mobile responsive and mobile friendly

So you absolutely must make sure your site works on all devices otherwise not only will you miss out on over 50% of potential traffic but Google will give you a major ranking slapping.

Free website review worth £300

Having given you all this great advice, I’ll now back it up by offering you a free review of your current website to see how it is performing. I normally charge £300 for a review so not only will you learn how you can increase your website conversions but I’ll even do it for free.

So for your free review or for help with any other aspect of your marketing, contact me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk or call on 01483 200387.

 

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How To Avoid These Classic Website Mistakes

Do you want to avoid these classic website mistakes?

The web has been around for about 20 years now.

But amazingly many small businesses are still making glaring errors with their websites.

When you consider that the web has become the default resource we all use when looking for just about any information, you realise just how much SMEs are limiting their own success.

Let’s go through some of these classic website mistakes that small businesses are commonly making. Get these right and at least you’re giving your website a fighting chance of being successful.

No Clear Objective

Too many businesses put up a website without too much thought of what they expect from it.  The point is that you must be absolutely clear what your objectives for the website are.

Are you looking to make sales off the page?

Do you want visitors to contact you?

Are you looking to collect email addresses?

Or are you happy for your site to be a brochure site which re-enforces  your other sales activity?

Whatever it is you want your website to achieve, you must be clear in advance so that you write and design it with that role in mind.

What action do you want your visitors to take?

The purpose of your website is to make visitors take some kind of action.

You need to be very clear exactly what action you want visitors to take and tell them very precisely what to do.

So whether that is to phone you, to email you, to make a purchase or to leave their contact details, make sure you give them that instruction and that instruction only.

Not built for mobile devices

This is becoming increasing important every year.

If you’re in an industry where people are searching for your services when they’re out and about such as cab companies or restaurants or your target audience is predominantly young people then having a smart phone and tablet compatible website is vital.

In April Google are doing another of their regular algorithm updates. This latest update is focusing on websites being mobile friendly.

Up til now the concern has been that websites should be mobile responsive ie they resize themselves to fit the screen they’re being viewed on.

This new emphasis on being mobile friendly will be looking at the user experience so things like the size of text will become increasingly important.

No email address on the home page

Different people like to use different communication methods.

Email doesn’t seem such a big step as picking up the phone.

Not having an email address on your home page could lead to you missing out on contact from visitors who aren’t ready to have a conversation.

So make sure you’re making it as easy and comfortable as possible for visitors to contact you by putting your email address on your home page.

Lack of social proof

Social proof in the form of testimonials and case histories is vital for establishing your credentials.

A quality testimonial, stating how the customer has benefited from your services, along with a convincing name, company name(if appropriate) and a photograph will give visitors confidence in the quality of your products and services.

While you’ll probably have a dedicated page for testimonials, having a couple on your home page is important as many visitors may not get past the home page.

Lack of keywords

You can have the best website in the world but if no one can find it, it’s unlikely it will deliver your objectives.

You must ensure that your primary keywords are built appropriately into your copy. Your text must be written for the reader or Google will penalise you if you repeat keywords too often or your text is obviously written for the search engines.

But the fact is that if the search engines can’t relate your text to the search terms people are using, you won’t show up in the search results.

Of course these points only cover the very basics.

So how does your website measure up?

 

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Make Your Website A Regular Source Of New Customers

Anyone who’s been in business for a while knows that two of the absolute ‘must-haves’ for success are:
1.Getting new customer or clients
2.Keeping them coming back for more

For most small business owners maintaining a steady flow of new clients is really quite difficult. The majority of business owners that I meet usually rely on using a few lead generation tactics. However, any business that uses just a few lead generation techniques is putting themselves at risk. What happens if these for some reason suddenly stop working?

If you want to grow your business, you need a steady flow of high-quality leads. To achieve that you need to use lots of different ways to generate leads, both on and offline.

Here are just five key tips on lead generation, without any cold calling (which you probably hate doing as much as I do!):

1. Set your lead generation objectives so you can determine what works and what doesn’t

Set specific targets that you can track and measure.

Spend time setting your objectives and specific, measurable targets. If you don’t, how will you ever know if your lead generation programme has been successful or not?

2. Use your website as your primary ‘lead conversion machine’

Your website, if set up and optimised correctly, can be a powerful marketing tool that takes prospects generated by your lead generation programme and converts them into a stream of high-quality leads.

To work effectively your key landing pages (the ones where visitors enter your website) must capture your visitor’s attention immediately. You must decide what action you want your visitors to take e.g. sign up for a newsletter, download a PDF etc and make sure you focus on getting them to do this on every page.

3. Use Social Media to drive people to your website

From a marketing point of view, one of the best uses of social media is to drive people to your website.
Whenever you tweet, link back to your website, whenever you blog include links back to your website and the same goes for Facebook and LinkedIn. Of course if you’re going to do this, then your social media utterances need to be relevant to your website content and to your business, but that should go without saying.

4. Use direct mail to generate leads

Direct mail like sales letters, post cards, flyers, etc, is still one of the most effective ways of communicating your messages to your target audience and of course, driving them to your website, where they should be incentivised to complete the kind of actions I’ve mentioned above.

Direct mail’s main advantage over email is that it doesn’t have the message filtering that email marketing has.

5. Use online advertising like Google AdWords to instantly drive quality traffic to your web pages

Pay-Per-Click advertising can be a highly effective way of getting the right people to your website quickly, particularly if you are finding it difficult to obtain Page 1 rankings on Google.

Used correctly Google Adwords is a fantastic business generator but if used incorrectly you can burn loads of money for absolutely no reward.

If you’re new to Adwords, proceed cautiously to start with until you know what you’re doing.

 

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Why The Content Of Your Website Is So Important

Recently I was checking out the website of an SEO guy I’d met at a networking event. As websites are at the very heart of this guy’s business, I was expecting the website to be technically perfect, maybe not very inspiring but put together with the ultimate care and attention to detail.

Well was I ever disappointed.

It was a mess.

It was littered with typos and grammatical errors. Now you could argue that this isn’t important and the only important thing is whether he can get my website to a prominent position on the first page of Google. My impression wasn’t helped by the fact that his website wasn’t ranking highly for what I thought were his most obvious keywords.

Moving away from the example of this one company, the question is whatever business you’re in, how important is the spelling, grammar and over all presentation of your website?

Coming back to my SEO scenario, I immediately started to form an opinion about him and his business standards and that led to my conclusion of shoddy website content = shoddy workmanship. I could be completely wrong, of course but if I’d come across that site purely via a Google search I would immediately move on to other sites that look more professional and show that they care about how they present themselves to the world.

I believe that words really do count when it comes to websites. After all, for the most part, it’s the written word that is doing the hard work on any website small businesses have to rely on their website content to get across their key messages and find a compelling way to engage with customers in order to keep visitors on their site for more than the 8 seconds that you have to persuade them to stay. Your website content is your business voice, so if you want to build trust and credibility, the words, grammar, punctuation and layout on each page of your website are vital.

The Internet has presented us with so much choice that we have to find ways of making decisions, applying various filters to get down to the final two or three businesses that we might purchase from. If the spelling and presentation let the site down, you’ve found a reason to discard that prospect.

We’re all concerned about our search engine rankings and now Google is focusing on the visitor experience and penalising sites that are written for search engines, we all should concentrate on the quality of the content and making sure that the site makes the best possible impression.

A little attention to detail, ensuring your site has no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or layout glitches, could make a huge difference to your visitor response.

 

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Is Your Website A Dynamic Lead Generator Or A Tick In The Box?

For many businesses, their website is the most fundamental piece of their marketing collateral. When setting up the business, most business owners, rightly, want to have their website up and running before they even launch. It’s that important.

So if it’s so important, why is it that so few people actually think through what they want their website to achieve for them or what action they want visitors to take when they’re on the site.

Not only do they miss out on these vital pieces of strategic thinking but they also want to create their site as cheaply as possible and they see it as a one off piece of activity, which once it has been created allows them to tick it off on their to do list.

This are huge mistakes.

A website that is approached in this way will undoubtedly fail to deliver leads or sales for your business.

How much should you spend?

This is of course an impossible question to answer. The amount you spend will be determined by:

  • The objectives for the site
  • The functionality of the site
  • The size of the site
  • The budget available

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating spending more money than can be afforded. What I’m saying is that the mindset should be to spend enough to achieve the objectives of the site as opposed to the objective to be to spend as little as possible.

Your website should be dynamic

You should look to keep the content of your website as up to date and current as possible. There’s nothing worse than finding out of date information on a website. Special offers that closed months ago, out of date news items and information that is no longer current.

Google is always looking for new content and will reward a site accordingly. If the content of your site never changes, then the likelihood is that your search engine ranking will be commensurately poor.

For your website to deliver what you want it to deliver you have to be prepared to invest in it, both in terms of financial investment and time investment.

It’ll be worthwhile I assure you.

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Your Website And The Questions You Must Ask Yourself

Is your website the primary marketing channel in your small business marketing?

If so ask yourself this question “Is it delivering new leads and enquiries on a regular basis?

There are two key elements involved here.

  1. Is your website being found by customers looking for what you sell.
  2. Is your website converting those visitors into enquiries?

If your website is generating traffic but not converting, whoever created your website may not have thought sufficiently about the content.

Before you start writing your website you should ask the following questions:

  1. Who is your website aimed at – who are they, what are they like and what style of website will they react best to?
  2. What are your objectives – do you want your visitors to pick up the phone or email  you, or do you want them to leave their contact details. Perhaps  your website is primarily there to give your business credibility.
  3. Having visited your site what action do you want visitors to take – because whatever it is you will need to tell them.
  4. What is your strategy – what is your strategy for turning visitors into database contacts or sales leads? Are you using testimonials effectively? What about video?

Having asked these basic questions , you must now look at the proposition you are making to your visitors.

Remember you have about 8 seconds to grab your visitors’ attention otherwise they’ll click away.

They’re not interested in you

Also remember they’re not interested in you or your business.

The only thing they are interested in is what you can do for them. Can you solve their problem?

So your first line of text had better tell them what you do and not just from your point of view but more importantly from theirs.

For example if you were a servicing garage, your first line might say:

“ We service, repair and provide MOTs for all makes of car”.

But what the customer really wants you to provide is the security and peace of mind that their car is roadworthy and won’t break down on them.

So your second sentence had better tell them that.

It’s all about taking action

You must also ask yourself whether  the proposition your website makes is compelling enough to  make your visitors take action.

  • What makes you stand out from your competitors – what is there that makes you the right choice for me?
  • Do you offer a guarantee and so remove the risk for me to trade with you?
  • Do you offer a free taster so that I can trial what you offer without it costing me anything?
  • What benefits do you offer me that your competitors don’t?

Only when you’ve answered all these questions and have a genuinely compelling proposition should you  start planning what pages your website should have and how the navigation should work.

After that you will at last be ready to put pen to paper and start writing the words.

Business Development Advisors can help you grow  your business and take it on to the next level. If you’d like to find out more please get in touch